Monday, July 23, 2007


You may have wondered where I've disappeared to recently. Um... I've been eating. Here's a summary of the exploits:

Weekend #1
Friday, July 13 - Dinner - Benihana

University, right by the I-5 on-ramp, Seattle, WA
Benihana is meh as usual. I only go to these places when there is a group going and I feel like socializing. I suppose the prices are reasonable, especially with the Prime Card discount (courtesy of Microsoft), but I would really much rather either somewhere else. If I want to eat steak or fish, I can do a better job doing it myself. If I want a cooking experience, then I'm not Paul Ip. I just want good food. Atmosphere, entertainment value, etc. take a back seat.

The other caveat is that I used to work at one of these places. As a result, nothing came as a surprise (well... mostly). The performance was OK. Nothing fantastic. Actually, the onion volcano thing went poorly. I'm not sure if others picked up on it, but it just wasn't done right. The soup and salad were exactly like I remembered it. The food was overcooked. The shrimp sauce was not as unhealthy as it used to be, which is a shame, because it used to be good. Anyway... the highlight was the sushi bar. $1 hand rolls. Cheap!

Saturday, July 14th - Breakfast - Mee Sum Bakery
By Pike Place Market
Even though we dropped by at 8am, they had no pineapple buns (or whatever they are called in English). Disappointing. Their pork buns are pretty good. The curry beef buns are just OK. Highlight? The baked pork buns (and the location). Lowlight? In three attempts, I have never been able to procure a pineapple bun. Damn it!

Saturday, July 14th - Lunch - Shanghai River
Westminster Highway, past No. 3 Rd, Richmond, BC
Good place. We were lucky to get a seat in this place. Their food was excellent as usual, although the Xiao Long Bao were a bit smaller than I prefer. Overall, solid. We ate other stuff too, but obviously this one item was the highlight. Highlight? Xiao loong bao. Lowlight? Whatever Alissa ordered.

Saturday, July 14th - Dinner - Richmond Sushi
Off No. 3 Rd, towards Bridgeport, Richmond, BC
We gorged ourselves. I forgot to mention - it's all you can eat. Not the highest quality, and I didn't really like the color of the tuna, but overall passable sushi. Plus, they have other items that you can get - like chicken wings and the like. $180 for six people (before tip) is pretty good for unlimited sushi and some drinks. The unagi was pretty decent, the tuna seemed sketchy, and no ika. Overall, I'd go again if I was with a group of people crawing massive quantities of raw fish. Probably not cheaper than getting some crazy sashimi at 5888 Cambie, though. Highlight? Gorging opportunity. Lowlight? Not *that* cheap and seems like they can have sketchy quality.

Weekend #2:
Thursday, July 19 - Dinner - Kau Kau BBQ
My parents wanted to go to the International District. I should have been stronger with my warnings. It sucked. Despite the rave reviews on yelp, I have to say that I have never been so disappointed with an "authentic-ish" Chinese meal before in my life. The Chinese Broccoli was chopped in ways the made no sense. My only explanation is that they had some that was beginning to turn and they chopped off the parts that have spoiled. The roast pork was the fattiest I've had. Not that I don't like fat, but this was like eating bacon is char sui sauce. I like bacon, but it's prepared a bit different. The cooking overall was pretty poor. The plate of vegetables and the pan fried noodles (chow mein... the real kind) were very meh. How meh? Those are two dishes that I've prepared myself before, and I have NEVER done such a crappy job with it. Not even on my first attempt where I was basically winging it. To add insult, the service was poor, we had to wait for our crappy food, and it wasn't even cheap. Bottom line: don't go here. Highlight? Leaving. Lowlight? Not being able to come up with a plausible reason for why the food is so terrible.

Friday, July 20 - Lunch - Noble Court
140th St, across from the Safeway, Bellevue, WA
I don't need a well appointed interior. I don't need a place to be super clean. I just want good food. That's why Noble Court works for me. Great food. The stuff that comes out on trays seems to be for a different audience (if you know what I mean), but if you avoid that, it's fine. The kitchen did a fantastic job keeping up with business that day and the food just kept coming out. The flow of lunch business also made sure that the food stayed fresh. A good combination, in my book. Highlight? They have a great variety of good dumplings. I like. Lowlight? A little pricey considering the dinginess of the place.

Friday, July 20 - Dinner - Umi Sake House
1st Ave, Belltown, Seattle, WA
I'm almost always happy with this place. This time was no exception. It's one of the rare occasions where I actually like a place that has a nice interior and service and everything - not to mention a good looking staff. (-; So we had four people, and we ordered $50 of sashimi, $30 of sushi, and $22 in rolls. About $25 a head, which is only a tad more than the $23 a head at the all-you-can-eat place in Richmond. Only difference here is that the quality of the food is fantastic, and we got some pretty good stuff. The great thing about this place (aside from what I've already mentioned) is that the platters aren't just filled with cheap stuff. So far they have always featured uni, which is some of the most expensive stuff out there. This time we also got toro and some shrimp sashimi. Good stuff. In the end, I was stuffed. I suppose I'd take this over Richmond Sushi. Yum! Highlight? The sashimi and the wait staff. Lowlight? Can be pricey if you don't get one of their huge special rolls to fill up (that's the trick).

Saturday, July 21 - Lunch - HKYK
No. 3 Rd, across from the Acura dealership, Richmond, BC
This place is solid as usual... and packed. Very good dim sum. Their har gow wasn't as good as some other places, but definitely good. They also had some good xiao loong bao. Why is that important? It's important because it means that by eating here I can get my xiao loong bao fix along with the dim sum fix. That's a good thing! You know what else is a good thing? Discounts for orders before 11am. Highlight? The food. Lowlight? Smells like natural gas (it's a hot pot place at night).

Saturday, July 21 - Dinner - West Lake (literal translation from Chinese)
Victoria and 34th, Vancouver, BC
Pretty new place it seemed. They had decent food. My dad wasn't particularly impressed (probably because we didn't order enough seafood), but I was happy. The salt and pepper shrimp was decent, but not the best I've had. You could eat the shell most of the time, but not all of the time. The rest of their stuff was decent, especially the veggies, fish and chicken. The pork n' mayo thing wasn't incredibly popular with our group. Highlight? Um... no lowlights. Lowlight? No highlights.

Sunday, July 22 - Lunch - Neptune yada yada
No. 3 and Ackroyd, Richmond, BC
This place is great. Some of the best har gow I've had outside of HK. Getting a table is a pain though. You basically need reservations, even if you get in at 10am. Why? The stuff is dirt cheap before 11am. The good thing is that the place opens up at 8am. I'm not sure if you need reservations then, but it certainly is good news to have a place that opens early. It opens up the door to having dim sum for breakfast. Followed by? Maybe dim sum for lunch. This place also has loong har gow (the lobster version of har gow). $2 per dumpling, but they're pretty good. Should be tried at least once. Highlight? The har gow. Lowlight? The xiao loong bao here sucks.

So what now? In a bit I'm off to try a wonton noodle place in the International District. I hope to finally have a good experience there. So far it's been sucking... a lot.

1 comment:

mbagladiator said...

nice entry. i like it a lot. makes me long for my return to toronto to eat lots and lots of unlimited sushi buffet and chinese food.

also find it amusing that lifshitz is on the photostream.

see ya in a few weeks buddy.